Being Thankful

Psalm 100 (NIV)
A psalm. For giving grateful praise.

1 Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
2 Worship the Lord with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
3 Know that the Lord is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
5 For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.

Psalm 100 is my favorite psalm for giving thanks and praise to God. It serves to remind me that God is my creator and I belong to him. And that alone should cause each of us to give daily praise and thanksgiving to God for his goodness and his love that endures forever. In a world where violence, hatred, disease, and war dominate the daily headlines, it’s important for those of us who believe in God to remember that God is in control of this world. And if you believe in Jesus Christ the Son, you will one day live in a place where there will be no more tears, no more suffering and no more pain. That alone gives me hope and encourages me to thank and praise God daily.

As I was reading Psalm 100 tonight, I was reminded of a saint that left this world for her home in heaven earlier this year. Ms. Gene, who was a member of our church, wanted Psalm 100 to be read at her funeral service. As I read the psalm again tonight, I remembered back to April of this year when I read it at her funeral. She had certainly spent a lifetime giving praise and thanksgiving to her Lord. She knew that the Lord is God – that we are his creation – his people – the sheep of his pasture. Ms. Gene knew that she was not self-made but rather God-made. And she always, and I mean always, gave thanks to God in all circumstances.

I looked back at two cards tonight that Ms. Gene had sent me over the years. The first was to my wife and I after my father-in-law passed away and the second was after the passing of my mother. She wrote about how good parents were a “special blessing and a gift from God” and she wrote that she was “thankful” and “grateful” for her parents. She gave wise counsel as I grieved the death of my mother. Ms. Gene wrote, “Our mothers are very special and kind. We miss them when they are gone, but we have so many good memories to keep in our hearts and to comfort us. Remember that God is always with us.” She knew – as did the psalmist – that God’s love and faithfulness endures throughout all generations. God is present with us in the good times, in the midst of pain and suffering, and in all of the many ordinary moments of life.

I am thankful to have known the many faithful believers that God has placed in my path over the course of my life. Many of them were just ordinary people who served and understood God in extraordinary and even in simple ways. What set them apart was their unwavering faith in God and their recognition of his presence in our daily lives. Thank you God, for these faithful witnesses to your everlasting love and mercy. And please God, send more of them my way. 

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